News / Asia

Korea Wins Olympic Gold in Short Track Speed Skating

South Korea's Shim Suk Hee (R) skates ahead of China's Li Jianrou in the final sprint as South Korea goes on to win the women's 3,000 metres short track speed skating relay final event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014.
South Korea's Shim Suk Hee (R) skates ahead of China's Li Jianrou in the final sprint as South Korea goes on to win the women's 3,000 metres short track speed skating relay final event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014.
Parke Brewer
Short track speed skating at the Winter Olympics, especially the relay races, often provide controversial results. That was the case Tuesday in the women's 3,000-meter relay. 
 
There is no doubt one of the reasons short track speed skating was added to the Olympic program in 1992 is because of the thrill and drama it often provides.
 
Unlike long track speed skating where the athletes race in pairs, essentially against the clock, the short track skaters compete in packs of usually between four and six, on a much smaller oval. With tight turns and always the chance for falls and crashes, the skaters wear hard helmets.
 
And there are a number of ways a contestant or team can be disqualified, including impeding, skating outside the designated area and false starts.
 
In the women's 3,000-meter relay, the South Koreans jumped the opening gun for a false start. Another false start and they would have been disqualified. Instead, their final skater, Shim Suk Hee, passed the Chinese with half-a-lap to go and crossed the finish line first for the gold medal. 
 
At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics the Koreans were disqualified for illegal contact after thinking they had won the gold.  Though she was not on that team, Shim said through a translator, she certainly remembered the heartbreak of her countrywomen.
 
"When I went past the [finish] line, even though I was watching it on TV four years ago, I still thought of that moment," she said.  "It came up to my head. I was really happy and I could feel what my other teammates who took part in it felt and I was more happy for them."
 
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
x
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
Italy's Arianna Fontana (L) falls in the women's short track speed skating relay final event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Feb. 18, 2014.
China was the beneficiary of the Koreans' disqualification four years ago, moving up to the gold. This time it was the Chinese who were disqualified for an improper move after finishing second. That meant the Canadians were elevated from third place to the silver medal, and the Italians, who had a skater fall early in the race, were advanced from fourth place to the bronze medal.
 
Canadian Marianne St-Gelais said she and her teammates were as surprised as anyone that they ended up with the silver medal.
 
"We were proud of what we did," said St-Gelais. "So when we saw we came in third we were happy, but we didn't know something happened because we hadn't seen anything in the race. So when we saw the final result we were proud. Like we wanted the gold medal for sure because it's never happened, but we're really, really satisfied with the silver."
 
After the Italians suffered their crash, the public address announcer brought laughter from the crowd when he announced that they were now "about 15 years behind" the other three teams. Italian Arianna Fontana said they did not let the crash bother them.
 
"We didn't give up. We kept going. We tried to go fast anyway, and in the end when we saw that the Chinese got [disqualified], we were really excited, really happy and we couldn't believe it," said Fontana.
 
For the South Koreans, considered one of the strongest short track speed skating teams at these Winter Games, the women's relay win was their first gold medal in five of the eight scheduled events.

Click here to see VOA's Winter Olympics site

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs